This is a tool by the Presencing Institute and part of the Theory U methodology. You can also find other Theory U tools in our toolbox (just search for ‘Theory U’) and on the website of Presencing Institute.

Shadowing is part of the seeing and sensing phase on the left side of the U. Shadowing means that a person accompanies somebody for a defined period of time to observe him/her during work and learn from this observation. Shadowing allows the person who shadows someone to:

  • Observe and learn from an experienced practitioner/leader
  • Step into someone else’s daily work experience
  • Connect to someone who is facing similar challenges

The outcomes of shadowing are:

  • Real-time insights on practices of an experienced leader
  • Informal access to the daily routines of leadership work without being “on stage”
  • A deeper understanding of the leader’s work
  • The identification of barriers to and opportunities for leadership that need to be addressed
  • An expanded personal network
  • New ideas for your own leadership practices
  • Enhanced clarity about your own leadership challenge profile through the lens of the shadowing experience.
This tools describes everything you need to organise a shadowing exercise: the time and materials required, the steps to follow, and examples and principles to help you along.

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